Archive for the ‘MSM’ Category

The AP drama

June 20, 2008

I just learned about a currently developing online drama.  Associated Press (AP) decided that they are going to charge bloggers and anyone who cites their content.  The tariff is $2.5 a word or $12.5 for five words.  Now, as I understand it, if I post here a title of AP’s article with a link to it, I will have to pay, and if i cite anything from their article and provide a link to it, i will still have to pay.

AP are explaning this move in copyright terms and are apparently threatening to sue some bloggers. Frankly, I am finding it really difficult to follow their logic.  If they don’t want people to cite and link to their content, why are they making it available online?  Either I am missing some huge point here, or peole at AP don’t understand the “rules of the game” they are into.


Dieing newspapers?

June 20, 2008

It seems to be a commonly shared believe these days that the traditional newspaper is dieing. However, it seems that it is not true everywhere. According to this Financial Express article, newspaper sales in India have increased by 11.2% in 2007 and by 35.51% in the last five years. More, counter-commonly-shared-wisdom cited in the article regards the advertising market for printed news. Although, the article suggests that in the last year the newspaper advertising revenues in India witnessed a decline of 1.42%, in the last five years they grew by 64.8%.

I know very little (or should i say “nothing”) about the Indian newspaper market, but i wonder if our understanding of Western media markets is completely adaptable to the developing world and/or to significantly different cultural settings?

Of course, one could suspect that the body that produced that statistics is biased. It is the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which obviously has its own interests. For example they cite a rise of 2.57% in paid-for newspaper circulation world-wide in 2007 (9.39% worldwide), which sounds really contrary to what we usually hear in media. Nevertheless, i think it is an interesting and thought provoking information.

What do you think?

Compartively speaking

March 28, 2008

Thanks to Digital Inspiration I came across this interesting project that visualizes the geographical focus of selected mainstream media outlets. One of the interesting comparison you can do is that to the blogosphere. When you go to the website, feel free to click on the menu, because it is clickable even though at first it may look like a picture.

Washington Post on mobiles

February 25, 2008

Just recycling the news.  Washington Post technology section is featuring the mobile phone today.  As usual, there is a deterministic flavor to the article (“mobile revolution”, “transform the world faster than did electricity, automobiles, refrigeration, credit cards or television”, etc.).  However, it has many interesting facts about the mobile industry and, even more interesting, the gaps between predictions about mobile communication markets and the actual outcomes (which made me think about my previous post on market analysis again).  If you have a few minutes to spare, it makes an interesting read.

More on online product placement

January 11, 2008

In the past i blogged about online product placement. Here is another interesting video linked from the Washington Post and telling the story of growing phenomenon of product placement in online, supposedly grassroots, content. (Sorry, but i still didn’t figure out how to embed video other than YouTube and Google in WordPress).

So much for 2.0-ish innovation?

To cheer you up, here is another one on the subject, but less serious:

A classic media event

January 9, 2008

George Bush is coming to visit Israel and it is a great example of media event. I was watching a morning program today (on channel 10) and the anchors proudly announced that the entire day today will be dedicated to the visit (mind you, he hasn’t even landed yet). And this obsession is characteristic of all the Israeli media today. A classic example of media event.


September 24, 2007

Yesterday i replied to a Carson’s Post item that wondered if the news agencies are simply becoming high-end blogs. I was trying to make an argument that although the mainstream media are frequently relying on the grassroots information, journalism as an institution still has a role (at least i hope so). One of the foundations for this line of thought is an article published last year in “Journalism Studies” 7(4) by Zvi Reich (here is a link, but you will get the actual article if you are affiliated with a library that access to this journal). He suggests that in the current setting the journalists do not initiate information gathering, but follow leads actively pushed by their sources. However, once the lead is followed, it is more of a journalistic investigation in the traditional sense that is leveraging the institutional strength of mass media.

The interesting question in my mind is: what in fact the nature of relationships between citizens-generate content and the mainstream media is? Do people’s opinions and observation suddenly really matter?

In the same reply on Carson’s post i quoted a summary of Tremayne (2007) who tried to describe the relationships between bloggers and MSM in a systematic way. I won’t copy it here, but mention that the main point is that the bloggers do have influence on the input of MSM journalists are getting. However, one of the other people commenting on my remark suggested that the content of blogs themselves is being manufactured by the market forces thus canceling out the “grassroots” element of their input. In a way my own study together with Dor Reich (don’t think they are related with Zvi, but you can never be sure :) shows that even the individual bloggers tend to rely heavily on the MSM content, which supports the “limited autonomy” approach.

And yet today i read a Howard Kurtz’s article in “Washington Post” highlighting the role of grassroots materials in the news production these days. According to that article this phenomenon has a few components:

  1. The willingness of media to receive the content. Kurtz notes in his articles that many major media outlets are offering this days channels for individuals to submit their content. He notes Fox’s uReport, MSNBC’s FirstPerson, CNN’s I-Report, and ABC’s i-Caught. We can also add the Ynet’s “red mail”, but the idea is clear – riding the Web 2.0 hype the media are opening up for user-generated content.
  2. The responsiveness of people to actually submit content. Again, Kurtz sight some numbers such as 40K video and pictures in the first 6 month of uReport, 28K submissions to FirstPerson since April, and 60K of videos and picture to I-Report in 14 months. So people do want to share their content.
  3. The interest people find in the grassroots material. The number of views some pieces are receiving is counted in hundreds of K’s and the there are thousands subscribing to the channels offering that kind of content online.

However what this outline missing is a selection criteria, or a selection process by which the MSM decide whether to give a certain piece of grassroots material further publicity. At the end of the day the number of people consuming TV news is still much higher compared to those who acquire most of their news online. Thus the question of selection becomes an important one. Besides, linking back to the original post at Carson’s, how do MSM decide what civic story to follow up on and how? I also wonder how much of the ideas presented in Kurtz’s article are a Web 2.0 hype effect or to what degree they are signifying an emerging trend? What I think I can definitely sense is an emerging study…

Any thoughts?

Commfree day

July 8, 2007

Update – July 11

I created a page dedicated to CommFree discussion, so it would always stay at the front page of the blog. You can find the link in the right upper corner, under the link to “about” page.

Feel free to engage in conversation over there.


OK, this is an idea I’ve been playing with for a while…

But first a confession… I am a communication junkie. I love technology, i love media, I love gadgets and everything associated with this world. I find it hard to imagine what i would do without all these technological wonders. What would i do without internet? How would i communicate with all my friends spread all over the globe? How is it living without some TV here and there? Or more so without music… online radio silence day was a killer! One of the first things i do in the morning is turning on the computer on my way to the bathroom. I think i am addicted.

Having said that, i admit that many times i feel overwhelmed…. for example by the amounts of email, social networking sites’ updates, phone calls, etc. or in general by the amount of time i spend online. I get frustrated from the quality of news or entertainment i see on TV or read in the newspapers (see a very nice article by Oz Almog on the subject, sorry, but it’s in Hebrew). And then i am angry at myself for spending time on getting frustrated instead of doing something useful. And so on and so forth.

Bearing in mind this conflict, it seems to me that with all the good things extensive communication and information accessibility give us, many times, also thanks to them, we find ourselves drawn into infinite chase, forgetting to enjoy the life. On the one hand we forget enjoying the simple things like reading a book just because, going for a hike or simply doing nothing for a while. On the other hand, in the technological context, we forget enjoying all the benefits that media and information technologies (MITs) are bringing in our lives such as instant communication with others, access to information, ease of getting things done, and more. I personally find myself many times chasing something without an option to stop, think things over, and reflect on what is that i am chasing, or how i do that.

So, in order to restore the balance and maintain a perspective on both the non-technical aspects of our lives and the role of MITs in our lives, i suggest a Commfree Day. The idea is having one day a month free of communication technologies. One day a month when you turn off your TV, your computer, your mobile, and other gadgets, and do all the other things you usually don’t have the time for. It can be going for a walk, finishing that book that lays for months by your bed, meet up with friends whom you haven’t seen for ages, etc. The options are practically unlimited. The basic drive is making the commfree day a comfy day – something that you would enjoy.

I believe that having this practice once a month will help maintain a perspective on both our non-mediated lives and the role of MITs in them. I am not suggesting doing that out of hatred towards technology (or just because as the shutdown day people seem to be doing). Quite the opposite. I suggest that because I think we need this break to reflect on where we are heading and reflect on the role media and information technologies play in our lives. I think it is a healthy practice, and the key for it success is it becoming a practice – once a year is just not enough.

On a more practical level, i think this day should be the first Saturday of each month. Why? Well, it has to be a non-working day for you can’t force people not to work and Saturday seems to be the most universal holiday globally. Also, first Saturday of the month is easy to remember. So the next Commfree Day is August 4, 2007. I plan on following it and would be glad to hear if anybody else joins me.

Of course, i do not suggest it being too rigid. Although i do believe for doing the complete thing, but I undersatnd that there are cases where you can’t give up the MITs completely or it is just too much to ask at once. To start with, i think the idea is to minimize the use of MITs as much as possible aiming towards eventually freeing that one day a month.

And one last thing, i would really like to hear what you think about this idea, about how it could be better formulated (and probably named) and spread around. Needless to say that you should feel free passing it on. Thanks!


What: Commfree Day

Why: Because you love your life and you love the technology

When: Saturday, August 4, 2007


June 29, 2007

Apparently my previous post made it to “Washington Post”.  They have a feed that probably tracks mentions of their articles in blogosphere and it got it.  Frankly, it is even a bit embarrassing that from all the posts that one is getting linked.

Lonely CNN

June 13, 2007

Gladly i am in a good company with the amusement by the fact that Paris Hilton’s return to jail took so much air time and media attention.

(i couldn’t figure out why WordPress wouldn’t let me embed the video…hmm)